Last month, I got an e-mail from Beyonc Knowles titled "I don't usually email you," which I erased immediately since it seemed like the kind of thing my lovely wife Cassandra could see and then we'd be in a fight where I'd be yelling "I've never even met Beyonc!" with an unconvincing smirk on my face because, no matter how much friction it would cause in our marriage, I couldn't help wanting someone to think I'm sleeping with Beyonc.
Beyonc--who, again, I've never so much as drunkenly made out with at a nightclub--was letting me know that if I donated $5 or more to Barack Obama, I'd enter a raffle for a flight, hotel and night partying with her, Jay-Z and the President.
It makes sense that Americans would pay to meet celebrities at an event that the President also happened to be at and where the money happened to be used to help decide the leader of the free world. That event raised $6 million; a dinner with Sarah Jessica Parker got Obama $2 million; a lottery for a dinner at George Clooney's pulled in $9 million; dinner with Michael Jordan netted $3 million; Mitt Romney's appearances with the Donald (Trump) raked in $2 million. Which made me realize that auctioning yourself off for a candidate is a great way to get the kind of free publicity that makes people think you're really influential.
So I called Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, and told her campaign they could raffle off lunch with me. I chose Stein partly because I figured the two main parties wouldn't call me back and mostly because I thought the raffle might cause people to confuse our names and think I'm the Green Party presidential candidate, which would boost my Hollywood career.
The Green Party sent an e-mail to 2,300 local supporters. I addressed it "Dear Person Who Cares Deeply About Others" and promised a lunch for the winner and a guest at the most expensive restaurant they could find, knowing that even the most expensive kale salad isn't that expensive. I promised "to listen to you ranting on and on about the corrupt American political system without interrupting you." Forty-five people donated, adding nearly $2,000 to the $515,000 Stein had raised, which, percentagewise, makes me a better celebrity draw than Sarah Jessica Parker. When I asked Stein who Green Party loyalists would have been most excited about--figuring she'd say Al Gore or Ed Begley Jr.--she said, "Gisele Bndchen." That is likely because Bndchen has a line of flip-flops to raise money for the rain forest, has planted more than 50,000 trees in Brazil and has fantastic breasts.
Stein, a Harvard-educated doctor who has had a tough time running as a Green candidate for other offices, said she was enjoying this race, which she entered Dick Cheney--style after being on the party's search committee. "We're going to win this race," she told me. "We're either going to win it by winning the office or win it by winning the day." I did not know exactly what that meant, but I was proud to be part of it.